Business executives are often surprised to find themselves headed toward a divorce after spending years building their companies and careers while married to their spouses. They ask themselves how someone so successful professionally could have personal family problems. However, divorces amongst business executives and their spouses are actually quite common. Because divorce is even more complicated at the executive level it is important for business executives and their spouses to have a highly skilled and experienced family law attorney to guide them through the divorce process and protect their earnings and assets.
- Why so many business executives fall victim to divorce.
There are many reasons why divorce is prevalent with business executives. These include:
Time – Business executives often must devote large periods of time to their work, leaving less time for family. This often takes a toll on the marriage and the non-executive spouse becomes resentful.
Money – Financial successes and failures can be other causes of divorce. Many times couples are not honest with each other about their financial estate, especially if the executive spouse is the sole breadwinner. This can lead to overspending by the non-earning spouse, hiding assets, or incurring debt without the other spouses’ knowledge. Without complete transparency and mutual money understanding, financial problems are a leading cause of divorce.
Unequal Division of Housework – It has been proven that the divorce rate is lower among couples who share household chores. Because business executives have to devote a large amount of their time to the business, they may expect the other spouse to carry the load of handling all domestic duties. Such an expectation without a honest discussion and agreement can lead to resentment and ultimately, divorce.
- Problems unique to a business executive in a divorce.
A business executive and their spouse will have a different divorce experience than the average W2 wage earner. Some of the problems unique to a business executive include:
Complex Compensation Plans – Including pensions, bonuses, trade secrets, stock holdings, and severance agreements.
Business Valuations – Needed for professional practices, businesses. Will often need a forensic accountant, and review of business documentation including partnership agreements.
Company Perks – Including travel allowances, car allowances, working vacations.
Deferred Income – Such as golden parachutes and deferred stock options.
Privacy – Protecting personal as well as company information from being exposed to the public.
Child Support and Spousal Support/Alimony – Protecting separate property assets and minimizing exposure.
- How Irwin & Irwin can help.
With nearly fifty years of experience the team at Irwin & Irwin can help. As a firm specializing in family law, Irwin & Irwin routinely handles high-asset and high value clients, including many business executives and their spouses. Irwin & Irwin respects client privacy and if possible will use mediation and collaborative law to minimize client time and exposure in court. However, if litigation is necessary, Irwin & Irwin zealously represents business executive clients and their spouses in court, advocating for them to the fullest letter of the law to ensure a fair and equitable divorce.
Irwin & Irwin also offers pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements to assist business executives with how their assets will be handled in the event of a divorce.
Stacy M. Boyer, Esq.
. Getting to 50/50: How working couples can have it all by sharing it all. Sharon Meers & Joanna Strober. Random House Publishing Group, 2009.